Category Archives: Minnesota

Persistent Patience in Pursuing “The List”

Recently, a Vicar General of an archdiocese, when asked, how many perpetrators are you aware of, answered: “I have to fly.”

Why would anyone answer such a serious question with such a flippant deflection?

Because he knows the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops maintains “The List” of at least 6,721 clerics who have sexually abused minor children in the United States.  To date we know of 3,883.

That leaves a remainder of at least 2,838 clerics on “The List.”

This is a dangerous List.  Who are these priests and where are they today?

Whether it is Los Angeles, New York, or St. Paul, the pattern and practice is the same:

First deny, then delay and finally dribble out “The List” after a civil court orders the release.

Archdiocese of Los Angeles

Los Angeles Archbishop Gomez. His List and his secrets are sacred.

Criminal and civil litigation forced not one but three separate “Reports to the People of God” from 2004-2013.  The 2004 report listed some priests and attempted to justify Cardinal Mahony’s geographic solution when Father Michael Baker reported to Mahony in 1986.  The 2005 Addendum listed an additional 26 clerics.

The 2008 Report released on January 31, 2013 (under Los Angeles Archbishop Gomez) dribbled out 24 additional names.  To date the partial list is 269 clerics just in L.A.

Archdiocese of New York

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan – Where is his List?

The first Grand Jury report from Westchester County New York in 2002 found:

  • The Archdiocese of New York has a secret archive list. The religious institution had substantial evidence and continued to question survivors with the intent to suppress survivors resolve to report to law enforcement.  The Archdiocese of New York referred none of the cases reviewed by the Grand Jury to law enforcement.
  • Evidence from the secret archives revealed that after an accusation made the public List, the Archdiocese of New York willfully mislead the public and lied to parishes by defending the perpetrator and humiliating the survivor and their family.
  • “The List” was veiled in an additional layer of secrecy as the Archdiocese of New York required survivors and the family to sign a confidentiality agreement in order to receive counseling.  The Archdiocese then routinely stopped payment between 12-18 months.

To date The Public List includes 77 in the Archdiocese, 54 in Brooklyn and 57 in Rockville Centre.

Archdiocese of Saint Paul & Minneapolis

Former Vicar General Fr. Kevin McDonough

Former Vicar General Fr. Kevin McDonough

In 2004 Saint Paul released the number of of perpetrators, but the not the names. That number was 33.

In September 2013. Vicar General Kevin McDonough, JCD ,gave an interview where he was asked how many priests he knew of were accused of abuse.  His answer: I have to fly.  This is Father McDonough’s last known interview and worth a listen.

On December 5, 2013, A court order forced Saint Paul to release the 33 names, seven previously unknown that served in over 50% of the Archdiocese parishes.

In 2014, Saint Paul released three additional lists. The List nearly doubled in length to 64.  In 2015, 17 more names were added, bringing the total number to 81.

The Reality

The stark reality is that the bishops and major superiors of male and female religious orders could produce their Lists with the numbers, names and locations tomorrow.  When asked, however, their actions speak quite loudly, “NO! I have to fly.”

In order to protect the children of today and tomorrow, we cannot allow institutions to maintain secret lists of perpetrators.  We must be relentless to make the secret lists public.

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Priest Criminal Arrests and Suicides

One of the key lessons we were taught as priests is that bishops are the Episkopos, or, the Overseer of their Dioceses.  As the Episkopos, a bishop oversees all Roman Catholic Priests to whom he has granted faculties.

A bishop’s ability to oversee or supervise the clergy is reaching a new low.  The criminal conduct by priests in 2013 has not abated.  Rather, priest arrests are increasing.  See the most recent arrests of Fathers Koppala, Guarin-Sosa, Medina-Cruz and Wehmeyer.

Worse yet, even though the Dallas 2002 Charter prohibited Episcokopos from having criminally convicted priests in ministry, Archbishops have chosen to continue placing such priests like Father Michael Fugee in control over children.

Two recent priest suicides are another sign the Bishops are not supervising the Priests.  Father David Anderson in Los Angeles and Father Jamie Medina-Cruz chose to end their lives.  I do not fault them—we must hear their cries of deep desperation.

It is time for the Bishops to stop speaking in code words and take action to protect children and oversee the priests.  Unless an outside civil agency forces change on the Bishops more children will be harmed and more priests will become more alone and more desperate.

Father Leo Charles Koppala, Diocese of Winona, Minnesota.

Father Jamie Medina-Cruz, Diocese of Alexandria Louisiana.

Father Julio Cesar Guarin-Sosa, Diocese of Stockton California

Father David Ellis Anderson, Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Father Curtis Wehmeyer, Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.

Father Michael Fugee, Archdiocese of Newark.

 

 

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Correction: The Courage of One

Please note this correction from Jim Fitzpatrick:

“Please note there is one error in the article and it is on Bishop Carlson.  I did not ever say he threatened me, but that the threat was made to two Franciscan sister whom we know.  They were working at St. Williams in Fridley in the Gil deSutter era and when they pleaded with Bishop Carlson, to remove deSutter, Carlson threatened them with what would happen if they went to the press.  He used the terms that are in the article.  So, when Bishop Carlson took me to lunch and said if I had something on him relative to Tom Adamson (which he knew I did from the Guardian Angels parish experience) and if I felt I needed to go to the authorities or the press, I should do so.  I saw this as a veiled threat or a set up so I could face termination and blackballing in the church employment scene.  So, the threat was indirect.”

Former Minnesota priest Jim Fitzpatrick is courageously speaking about the child sexual abuse crimes by Father Thomas Adamson and the cover-up by the Bishops of Winona.

Almost 50 years ago, Fitzpatrick broke the silence about what distraught parents from Caledonia told him about the priest and notified Winona Bishop Edward A. Fitzgerald about Adamson the very next day.

Fr. Jim Fitzpatrick served the Church as a pastor and teacher from 1963-1973. Fitz left active ministry in 1973, married and continued serving the Church as a parish administrator in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. And he would remain in the dark about Adamson.

After Fitz’ report in 1965, Adamson was cycled from parish to parish, treatment center to treatment center and diocese to diocese.

Unknown to Fitz, Bishop Loras Watters, successor to Bishop Fitzgerald, had reports from four experts about Fr. Adamson—the Institute for Living (a well-known Catholic treatment facility), a local priest therapist, the Bishop’s own priest personnel board and the Servants of the Paraclete. All said that Adamson was fixated on boys.

Finally, Bishop Watters, under the Hierarchy’s policy of omertà, applied the “geographic solution” and ordered Adamson to Saint Paul, where the “scandal” could be better controlled.

By this time, Fitz was working as a church administrator. He received a call that Auxiliary Bishop Robert J. Carlson had assigned Fr. Thomas Adamson to his parish. Fitz immediately called Winona and asked Vicar General Father Donald Schmitz if Adamson was still sexually abusing boys. Schmitz—according to Fitz—said yes. Fitz threatened to resign. Carlson instead transferred Adamson to another parish.

This story is informative on several levels. First, many Roman Catholic priests have one first-hand story about a fellow priest who sexually abused a child.

For example: with Adamson, dozens of priests, members of the personnel boards and bishops in Winona and Saint Paul (pastors, chancellors, vicar generals, auxiliary bishops, bishops) had reports on Adamson. But only one broke with the rule of omertà.

In addition, the hierarchy will and does use coercive power in order to silence whistleblowers—right out of Machiavelli’s “The Prince. According to Fitz, Auxiliary Bishop Carlson told Jim Fitzpatrick the price he would have to pay (firing and black balling) if he went to the police or press about Adamson. Nota Bene, Carlson was promoted and now is the Archbishop of Saint Louis.

Lastly, some will criticize Fitz for not breaking the chain of command sooner and calling someone outside the Church. But I commend Fitz for following his conscience, speaking now and demonstrating by example how to put children first.

My hope is that the thousands of priests and lay ministers in Minnesota who know about perpetrator priests will follow the example of Jim Fitzpatrick. I hope they will follow their conscience, break their silence and report what they know.

There is hope, and Jim Fitzpatrick is leading the way.

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